The Occupational Safety and Health Administration at 50: Protecting Workers in a Changing Economy

Am J Public Health. 2020 May;110(5):631-635. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2020.305597. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

Abstract

The passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 brought unprecedented changes in US workplaces, and the activities of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have contributed to a significant reduction in work-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses. Despite this, millions of workers are injured annually, and thousands killed.To reduce the toll, OSHA needs greater resources, a new standard-setting process, increased civil and criminal penalties, full coverage for all workers, and stronger whistleblower protections. Workers should not be injured or made sick by their jobs. To eliminate work injuries and illnesses, we must remake and modernize OSHA and restructure the relationship of employers and workers with the agency and each other.This includes changing the expectation of what employers must do to protect workers and implementing a requirement that firms have a "duty of care" to protect all people who may be harmed by their activities. Only by making major changes can we ensure that every worker leaves work as healthy as they were when their work shift began.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control
  • Federal Government
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control
  • Occupational Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Occupational Health / standards*
  • Safety Management / standards
  • United States
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration / organization & administration*
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration / standards
  • Workplace / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Workplace / standards*